Canon D30 Tips
(Last Updated March 21, 2002)
Since getting my D30 last
December, I've come across a number of different tips, and somewhat
obscure information, that have made a huge difference in getting
better quality and more consistent results in my shooting. The
purpose of this page is to put in one place these little pieces
of data that are scattered all around the internet. The most recent tips are added to
the bottom of the numerically itemized list.
Some of these are obvious,
some are rather obscure, but all have helped me quite a bit. They
are listed not in any order of importance, but just as they've
occurred to me. As the list grows, I might need to organize it
better or differently, but this will suffice for starters.
Essentially none of these
are my own discovery, and I've attributed the source where possible.
I consider this to be an open list, so if any of you D30 users
have suggestions for items to add, please email me, so we can make this list as complete as possible.
Many of the initial comments
I've received have dealt more with general digital imaging issues,
especially how to properly edit pictures in PhotoShop or other
editor. I am definitely not a PhotoShop "Guru" and there
is an abundance of information on this subject elsewhere on the
web. Rather than trying to duplicate what's readily available
elsewhere, I think it would be more appropriate to include a list
of Links here to try and give people a running start in this area.
If you know of some good sites, please send them to me and I'll include as many as seems reasonable
to be helpful, and not overwhelm with too many choices.
- Review Menu
Setting to include Histogram Display: The Review Menu option includes "Off"
"On" and "On(Info)". With the third option
selected, immediately after each shot, for whatever Review Time
you have set, the LCD shows a thumbnail of the picture just taken,
but includes the Histogram display, including the "blinking"
areas showing where highlights have been blown out. Getting this
type of immediate feedback enables you to quickly make any adjustments
and get the exposure you're looking for.
12 set to change ISO:
to change ISO on the fly is a huge advantage of shooting digital,
and setting CF12 to 2 makes this function instantly accessible.
You just hit the "set" button, and can then rotate
either the Main Dial or Quick Control Dial to change ISO.
- False Camera
Lockup: If you have the Battery
Grip (BG-ED3) attached and turned on, if its Main Dial is "inbetween
clicks," this effectively prevents any of the main camera
controls from operating. Just rotate this dial so it's in a normal
click position to immediately fix this problem.
Eliminate Shutter Lag Part 1:
After one or more shots are taken, if you keep the shutter button
half-depressed, rather than fully releasing it, you will be able
to immediately take additional shots without any pause (other
than if your buffer is completely full from previous shooting).
If you do fully release it, the camera puts transferring the
buffer data to the CF card as the priority, and there will be
a lag when you try to shoot again if it hasn't finished storing
all the images.
Eliminate Shutter Lag Part 2: If
you set CustomFunction 2=3, and have the AF set to AI Servo,
you'll be able to shoot at will, with no waiting for focus lock.
Further information on the features associated with CF2 are discussed
by Chuck Westfall of Canon here.
- Blue Cast
with AutoWhiteBalance in Outdoor Shots: I discovered early on that when the camera is
set to AWB, and you're taking pictures outdoors, a large percentage
of the images will suffer from a slight blue cast. To fix it,
go to Curves or Levels, choose the Blue Channel, and tweak according
to the needs of that image. Many people probably don't realize
it's there until they see the improvement when it's fixed.
- Images are
"Soft" coming out of the Camera: Canon seems to have made a design decision
here, where in-camera sharpening is much less agressive than
what's done in many/most other digital cameras. As a result,
people are initially disappointed with what the D30 produces.
But once they understand Canon's strategy, and learn a little
about Unsharp Mask, it's seen that D30 images sharpen just beautifully.
I'll soon be providing more information on sharpening techniques.
- Recover "blown"
Aug. 3, 2001):
Miranda has come up with a PhotoShop 'action' that will enable
D30 users to recover a fair amount of detail in areas previously
thought to be totally over-exposed. This involves using both
a regular conversion from Raw, combined with a 2nd "Linear"
here to go to this page at Fred's site.
- Regain AutoFocus
with use of TeleConverters (Added Aug. 3, 2001):
various teleconverters (1.4x, 2x) are used, minimum aperture
drops by either 1 or 2 stops. If this gets below f/5.6, the D30
will no longer be able to AutoFocus. It has recently been suggested
that if you apply a little tape to three of the eletrical contacts,
you will prevent the D30 from "knowing" that the aperture
is now smaller than f/5.6, and it will continue to at least try
to AutoFocus. If you're shooting in fairly bright light, it may
still function fairly well, but certainly not as well as with
a larger aperture. No problems have been reported, but this is
not a Canon-recommended or approved procedure. Click here to review the thread at Phil Askey's forum which
discusses this. Click here to see a picture of which contacts to tape, at
Fred Miranda's site.
- Use of Focus
Confirmation with Manual Focus mode (Added Aug. 3, 2001):
got your lens set to MF to focus manually for whatever reason,
when AF is engaged (either via half-shutter press, or * button
when AF is assigned there), the confirming focus dot will light
when optimal focus is present at whatever focus point you've
selected. If you're shooting in very low-light or low-contrast
conditions, the dot won't easily light and confirm (since AF
is difficult under these conditions), but when shooting macro,
studio portraits, or in other situations where you prefer Manual
Focus, this can be helpful.
- CMOS Cleaning
dust will settle on the CMOS sensor and cleaning will be necessary.
Problems become most apparent when shooting at small apertures
(typically f/16, f/22, f/32). Many have found Canon's recommended
method of using a non-pressurized blower without any physical
contact with a brush, swab, etc. to be inadequate. The only other
"official" Canon option is to send it in for servicing,
but even there some have reported the problem either not fixed
or worsened after Canon servicing. The following threads at DP
Review and Rob Galbraith's D30 Forum provide additional information
for those interested, but are not being endorsed or recommended
as only Canon can do this: DP Review Thread, Galbraith Thread # 1, Galbraith Thread # 2, Galbraith Thread # 3.
Canon D30 Manuals (Added
Aug. 11, 2001):
can come in handy, so just go here and you can right-click and download the D30 Hardware
and/or Software Manuals in Adobe PDF Format (as well as manuals
for other Canon digital cameras).
- Shoot Macro
with Canon 100-400 plus Extension Tubes or Canon 500D Closeup
Aug. 19, 2001):
distance is a common problem with macro photography, as many
subjects won't let you get close enough with a 100 mm macro lens
to get the shot you're looking for. The long focal length of
the 100-400 zoom can be very helpful here, but the MFD (minimum
focusing distance) for this lens is 69" which isn't quite
close enough. This can be addressed by adding varying lengths
of Extension Tubes (I use the 3-tube set made by Kenko). Magnification
up to about 0.5 can be achieved. The following table shows the
approximate new MFD's with varying amounts of extension:
Ben Miller has done some excellent work using the Canon 500D
Closeup Lens with the 100-400 lens. This combination is able
to achieve magnification of about 0.8, with a working distance
of 27" from the sensor plane. The focusing range is quite
narrow (about 27" to 33"), but the magnification is
high. For more information on this, along with some spectacular
samples, click here.
(from end of lens)
(from sensor plane)
- What parameter
settings should I use?: (Updated
Oct. 10, 2001): There's
no right or wrong here, but it's a frequently asked question.
My personal preference is to use Low Contrast and Low Sharpening
to provide maximum flexibility when post-processing the shot
and High Saturation, as color shifts seem less problematic when
decreasing than when increasing saturation. The D30 must be connected
(via the USB cable) to your computer to upload your Parameter
selections, using either ZoomBrowser or the TWAIN driver. Once
uploaded, you must then select the Parameter Set you want to
use in the D30's menu system. In addition, there is an excllent
discussion of this topic in a thread at Rob Galbraith's D30 forum
- click here to read what's there.
- Use the 550EX's
Red Focus Assist light without a flash or pre-flash: (Added Dec. 9, 2001): The trick is setting
the 550EX to "TTL" mode rather than "ETTL"
mode. This is done via CF3 on the flash - press the LCD Lighting
button, hold it for a few seconds, and the CF symbol will come
up. Click on SEL/SET until CF3 comes up (it actually looks like
CF30 since "0" is the default value). When CF3 shows
up, press "+" and the value will change to 1. Hit the
display button again. "TTL" now shows up as the mode.
Make sure CF5 on the camera is set to 0, turning on the Focus
Assist light. The FA light will now function normally. But since
the D30 doesn't "do" TTL, when you hit the shutter
button, there's no flash, no pre-flash, etc. People with the
550EX can now use its Focus Assist light, and not disturb subjects
with either a flash or even a pre-flash. I just tried it out
and it works like a charm. I credit Mark Morgan and Mike Kuder
who tracked down this trick on the rec.photo.digital newsgroup.
Note: this tip only works in the "creative
zone" modes of shooting, and not the "easy shooting"
modes. Further you must have the center focus point selected
(thanks to Phil Wigglesworth for tracking this down).
- Prevent Battery
Drain when your D30 is turned 'off': (Added Dec. 22, 2001): Dan Foody and Allen Pacheco
(at Phil Askey's DPReview site) tracked down a sporadic occurrence
many D30 users have seen, where after a few days of non-use,
they turn their camera on only to find the battery (or batteries
if the Battery Grip is in use) completely dead. I've encountered
this myself on several occasions. It turns out that if a lens
is removed while the camera is off, in many cases when another
lens is then put on, the camera then puts a 28mA continous drain
on the batteries - and this is with the camera switch turned
off. To prevent this, they recommend that after a lens
is changed on a D30 which has been turned off, that it be briefly
turned on and then off again once the new lens has been attached.
You can read the complete thread at Askey's site here.
- Flash Photography
with EOS Cameras: (Added
Jan. 20, 2002): while
this is not D30-specific, this webpage (NK Guy is the author)
contains just about everything you ever wanted to know about
flash photography in Canon EOS cameras. It's fairly lengthy,
and I've not reproduced it here, but here is the link.
- Sigma EF500
Flash Users: Red Focus Assist Light without flash or pre-flash:
21, 2002): Yatin
has come up with a solution to this problem, so Sigma users can
get this same function as 550EX users in the tip above. This
is a direct quote from Yatin's post at DPReview: "Mount the Flash onto
the camera. Turn camera and Flash on. Keep pressing the [Mode]
Button until you get to the manual ISO setting. Wait. Here is
the catch. The mode on the camera has to be set to FULL MANUAL
ONLY for it to work. Half press the shutter button, and hey presto,
the red light comes on. Instant focus!!! Meter manually, and
fire away. No flash will come on. Enjoy Photo. It does not work
well in other modes, because the camera messes up the shutter
speed or the aperture in all other modes."
and Information on the D30 can be found on the following pages
on this site:
Westfall Tips: Chuck
Westfall is the manager of the Camera Divison Technical Information
Dept of Canon U.S.A. He has participated on occasion at Rob Galbraith's
D30 Forum, and has provided some extremely valuable information
and insight into D30 related issues. This page summarizes what
he had to say there, along with links to the original discussions.
Letter to D30/Flash Users: This page contains the contents of a letter from
Canon, which was included when some users had returnedtheir equipment
to check flash metering calibration due to apparent problems with
Underexposure. It provides considerable detail on how to use the
various features on the D30 to get consistent, accurate exposures
when using Canon's E-TTL flashes.
IS and Tripod Use (Added Jan. 12, 2002): Questions frequently come up about whether or not
the Image Stabilization (IS) available on many Canon lenses should
be turned on or off when used on a tripod. This section provides
information and details on this topic.
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